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Jailed editor denied bail

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 1 September 2008, El Malick Seck, editor-in-chief of "24 Heures Chrono", a Dakar-based daily newspaper who is being detained for allegedly libelling President Abdoulaye Wade, made his first appearance in court.

Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that when the case was called, the State's prosecutor asked for an adjournment to enable him to provide more evidence to support his case.

The correspondent said however, a bail request by the journalist counsel Me Demba Ciré Bathily was turned down by the court in accordance with Article 80 of the Criminal Code of Senegal which denies bail to suspects accused of libelling the President.

Ciré Bathily protested that the continued detention of his client is unfair and violates the principles of human rights since Seck has been detained for more than a week.

Indeed President Wade in 2004 promised to repeal the law.

On 28 August, a group of police personnel raided the premises of "24 Heures Chrono", sealed it off and arrested Seck, following an article in its 27 August issue that linked President Wade and his son, Abdul Karim Wade to a case of money laundering. The publication for that day was also seized.

Apart from libelling President Wade, the journalist is to answer four other criminal charges: disseminating wrong information, public slander, acts with intention to disrupt public order and foment serious political troubles and concealment of administrative documents.

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